My name is Brandon Ruiz and I run all the things here at ACM. I figured it would be cool to write up a little blog post about what Atabey Choreto Medicinals is, what to expect from the company and more!
Atabey Choreto Medicinals was created in 2016, when I decided my home creations should have a name. I was making medicines for myself, family and friends, and after talks about turning it all into something bigger, I started to make labels and make things a little more official. I started off with some colorful labels of plant pictures I took on my camera, and had a small selection of products (i think i had a "Beauty" tonic, "Immunity", "Energy" and some others, also a "Remineralization Powder" that I loved. Alot of my stuff didn't yet have labels, so I just wrote them up when I made them (which wasn't the best choice given my Pre-K handwriting). I had an Etsy, and got things around through word of mouth.
Eventually I switched things over to more official labels, and officially held the name Atabey Choreto Medicinals. "Atabey" and "Choreto" are words in the Taino language; the Taino are the indigenous peoples of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic/Haiti, Cuba and other close by islands. As a Boricua (Puerto Rican), my ancestors were of Taino, African and Spaniard descent. Atabey is a deity in the Taino's spiritual belief system, representing water and fertility and the island overall, and choreto means abundance. Roughly translated, Atabey Choreto means "rich island", "abundant earth", "abundance of fertile earth" etc. This name pays homage to my ancestors and the amazing energy the island of Puerto Rico has.
After a brief reset of formulas in early 2018, and a logo change (the original art I was using, I wasn't legally allowed to use as a logo, so I had a friend draw up a new noni logo!) we get to where we are now, with the beautiful noni logo done by (@chubbymittens) on Instagram. Speaking of noni, might as well tell you about how the logo came to be and my noni-addiction. Noni (Morinda Citrifolia) is a tree native to Polynesia that is now widespread throughout the tropics. It bears fruits that, when ripe, smell like stinky blue cheese, feet and other associated smells. Sounds good huh? So, flash back to when I was 10 or so, I come down with tonsilitis, and the infection begins to spread throughout my mouth and throat. The doctors planned to remove my tonsils and put me on antibiotics, but my abuela on my father's side said, "Nah, he just needs some noni." (Maybe she didn't say exactly that) She swears by noni, and bought me a few bottles of Tahitian Noni (a multi-level marketing business that sells noni ferment with some other additives). Within 4 days of taking my noni morning and night, when I went back to the doctor to check on the advancements of my infection, it was gone! My tonsils were back to normal health and everything looked great, amazing the doctors. I kept drinking noni, a shot every morning and every night with my father, and developed a craving for the flavor (sure it was with flavor additives but to this day I still crave straight fermented noni juice and even eat the fruit raw). Noni was my introduction to healing, and still is to this day as a pharmacy within itself, so I felt it was appropriate to use that medicine as the logo.
Within the constructs of ACM, there are a multitude of subjects I'll talk about through blog posts and other outlets. Subjects political/social/racial etc., environmental, historical, botanical, medicinal and so much more! Some of these people and even companies feel should not be talked about in an herbal business. However, 1. Atabey Choreto Medicinals is not just a business that works to sell products and leave it at that. 2. We cannot avoid talking about these subjects when herbalism, healing ourselves and the like are intrinsically intertwined with them (think food justice, healthcare accessibility and racial inequality to start, these are just the tip of the iceberg). So i hope to bring some light to the things happening in our world, and how plants and their medicine are allies to us during these times as our interactions with ourselves and the world around us grow to diversify evermore.
ACM is based in Charlotte, NC. I emphasize the use of bioregional natives within Appalachia (Catawba, Cherokee, Moneton, Cheraw, Yuchi indigenous lands), medicines homegrown or grown by local farms/friends. In combination with this region, I also utilize medicines from the Caribbean (Taino, Arawak, Ciguayo, Bribri indigenous lands), these medicines holding a history that runs through my DNA. You'll see this collaboration of medicines in blends like the Immunity blend w/ alcohol. It has both Appalachian-foraged Reishi mushroom, and Puerto Rican-foraged Noni leaf. Though based in Charlotte, NC, the goal is to increasingly shift towards using Boricua-grown plants from the islands, especially native to PR, which will be much easier once I move to the island in the next few years. I can't week to introduce you all to the island's amazing medicine over time!
You'll notice that each formula has an alcohol-free option. I realize that many people do not prefer alcohol, or simply cannot due to health issues, past problematic relationships with alcohol or even the taste (I once had someone tell me a tincture tasted like "jet fuel", which is pretty right considering the alcohol I use is 95% organic cane alcohol). Alcohol-free medicine making is so easier, with vehicles like vinegar, honey or glycerite being much more palatable, healthy and designate their own energy to the medicine. I hope to continue emphasizing alcohol-free options with new products in the future, as I want this medicine to be accessible by everyone.
Well, that seems like an okay intro! I'm sure I'll start to get the hang of how I want these blog posts to look, and hopefully they'll be weekly or bi-weekly. If you're in the north, stay warm, if you're in the south, stay...warm! Thanks so much for reading, stay tuned for the next post!